Much like burlesque dancers gradually undress revealing more and more skin as they get closer to the end of their show, carmakers begin testing future cars under heavy camouflage, which they then begin to remove layer by layer as we approach the time for their official reveal.
Mercedes-Benz has been teasing us with prototypes of the W222 codenamed S-Class for well over a year now, and even released a few pictures of the test cars itself last November when it told us about the tech wizardry it has developed for its flagship limousine series.
Judging by the percentage of the camouflaged areas versus the undisguised parts of this S-Class prototype caught by our scoop photographers in Europe, we'd say Mercedes-Benz is getting very close to throwing out all of its clothes.
The when and where is still under question, as Mercedes has been deliberating whether it should unveil the car at one of China's international auto shows during the first half of the year or at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany this fall.
Regardless of where it will reveal the car, one thing is for sure; its exterior design won't come to as a surprise as the new S-Class sedan's body is an evolution of the current model. The interior is another story as Mercedes started afresh with a new design highlighted by a massive TFT screen spread across half the dashboard, with a customizable display for the instrument panel and infotainment system.
The next S-Class features a new aluminum-intensive unibody with four-link front and multi-link rear suspensions that make use of the firm's new Magic Ride Control system, which employs cameras to scan the road in front of the car and adjust the suspension settings accordingly. Once again, there will be regular and long-wheelbase versions, with rear-wheel drive being standard and all-wheel drive offered optionally.
Depending on where you live, the S-Class sedan will be available with a selection of V6, V8 and V12 gasoline engines and four-cylinder and V6 diesels, plus a choice of standard and plug-in hybrid models, most of which are likely to be connected to a new 9-speed automatic transmission. At the top of the range will be the AMG high-performance variants with turbocharged V8 and V12 gasoline engines.
You may have noticed that we used the term "sedan" a few of times in this article. That's because Mercedes plans to add several new models to the S-Class family, including a coupe to replace the current CL-Class, an extra-long "Pullman" variant and possibly, two convertible versions with two and four-doors respectively.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoop